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5 Sky Events This Week: Return of Venus, Solar Eclipse

sky chart picture
The crescent moon will be paying a visit with Jupiter and Venus this week. Illustration via Starry Night Software/Andrew Fazekas


Here at National Geographic, we’ve discovered that readers love their space. So today we’re launching what we hope will be a far-out new feature: What to look for this week in the night sky. The second week in May will bring a mixed cosmic bag of shooting stars, an eclipse, and some worlds playing tag with each other.

Eta Aquarid Meteors. Starting at nightfall on Monday, May 6, straggler meteors from the Eta Aquarid shower should still be visible zipping through overhead skies across the globe. While rates of shooting stars will be significantly less than on peak night, May 5, it should be possible to see at least a half dozen per hour from dark skies throughout the first half of the week. (Also see: “Look Up for Halley’s Comet Shower This Weekend.”)

Venus Returns to Evening Skies. Starting on Tuesday, look for Venus—the second innermost planet—to start emerging from the evening twilight very low in the west-northwest. While it’s a challenge to hunt down within the sunset’s glare, Venus’ visibility will improve as it rises higher in the evening sky in following weeks.

Annular Solar Eclipse. On Thursday to Friday, the moon will cast its shadow on the Earth, making the sun appear as a ring of fire in the first solar eclipse of 2013. Visibility of the full eclipse can be seen from Queensland, Australia, on May 9 at 22:37 Universal Time and Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands at 23:00 UT. In Hawaii, a partial eclipse can be seen with just less than half the sun’s disc covered on May 10 at 1:50 UT. Here is a list of cities and times along the path of the eclipse. (See solar eclipse pictures from 2012.)

Moon Joins Venus. On Friday evening the very young and thin crescent moon passes Venus in the very low west-northwest horizon.  This pairing will be a challenge to observe because it will appear very low in the sky, so it’s best to find a location that has a free line of sight down the horizon. Venus will be only less than 2 degrees away from the moon—equal to the width of a thumb at an outstretched arms length. Binoculars will make it much easier to spot the cosmic pair in the bright twilight glare. (See Venus pictures.)

Moon Joins Jupiter. On Saturday and Sunday evening, watch the western sky at dusk for the waxing crescent moon to glide past Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. On Saturday the moon will be to the lower right of the gas giant. By Sunday the moon will have jumped to the upper left of the bright, star-like Jupiter. The two worlds will appear to be separated by about 6 degrees—a little more than the width of a fist held at an outstretched arm’s length.

Tell us—what cool sky phenomena have you seen lately?


  1. issac
    Harare Zimbabwe
    May 17, 2013, 1:13 am

    Send me pictures those able am eager to see them

  2. Zohier
    May 11, 2013, 5:26 pm

    I’ve took pictures today ,, how can I share them ?

  3. Chris Beezely
    Bloomington, Indiana
    May 10, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Agreed, keep it up!

  4. Helene Trottier-Lebel
    Gatineau, Qc, Canada
    May 9, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing. This will make my Moon meditation session even more interesting tonight.

  5. sukumar
    May 9, 2013, 10:24 am

    Great info , now i have good reason to check my email,thumbs up

  6. Joanne Cloutier
    Montreal, Canada
    May 9, 2013, 8:41 am

    Congratulations on a great feature! Love to know what I am looking at every week.

  7. Anke izko
    May 9, 2013, 6:30 am

    Love the nights out here….it’s time again and the ISS is making its rounds this week very regularly each evening.

  8. Marie Alvarez
    Marietta GA
    May 8, 2013, 11:49 pm

    I love to see and know that many peoples are looking up the sky’s. there is always something in the skies you can check my pic and see what I been bless to see and show the rest of the world what God’s. world or creation it’s up in the sky’s check out every day like I do. thank you guy’s.. god bless you all.

  9. John Mark Azares
    May 8, 2013, 11:27 pm

    wow, I’ll wait for that.

  10. eve
    washington coast
    May 8, 2013, 10:01 pm

    thanks for doing all this, I love to watch the sky but know not all the technical jargon. thank you for making it all understandable…a thumbs width makes sense…and the exact where, and maybes…very enjoyable..

  11. sandrine stevens
    western jamaica
    May 8, 2013, 4:44 pm

    I love the night sky!!! The up date on the metoers is a little late it would have been a treat to see the shower. On what date will I see the solar eclipse in jamaica?

  12. velma
    May 8, 2013, 3:41 pm

    i love learning about the sky

  13. pia
    May 8, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Acc wt wld d tym fr halleys comet in India

  14. diana
    Austin, Texas
    May 8, 2013, 2:20 pm

    This is a great site. I hope to see it every week. Thanks National Geographic.

  15. dilip sengupta
    Mumbai, India
    May 8, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Why not publish on the same day (Monday) in Facebook for the whole week (Mon – Sun) ?

  16. dilip sengupta
    Mumbai, India
    May 8, 2013, 1:17 pm

    Why not publish on the same day (Monday) in Facebook for the full week (Mon to Sun) ? Seeing late is ‘not seen’.

  17. Victor Morales
    Nashua, NH
    May 8, 2013, 12:07 pm

    These is very interesting!! I love hearing news about whats happening in the sky.

  18. Christina Haley
    Wilmington, NC
    May 8, 2013, 11:25 am

    This is a fantastic new feature! Thank you!

  19. Jeroen
    May 8, 2013, 8:08 am

    So your fist is three thumbs wide?

    • Andrew Fazekas
      May 8, 2013, 8:47 pm

      Keep in mind this is simply a very rough but quick way stargazers can judge the separation of objects in the sky.

  20. Bec
    May 8, 2013, 4:32 am

    I saw a triple shooting star around 6.30pm Friday 6 may

  21. Vivienne O'Brien
    Watford, Herts, England
    May 8, 2013, 3:31 am

    Would like to know what can be seen in the UK skies over the next couple of months. Many thanks.

  22. LPKH
    Dili, Timor-Leste
    May 7, 2013, 9:02 pm

    Anyone know how to find out when the eclipse will be visible in Timor-Leste?

  23. Bella
    May 7, 2013, 8:12 pm

    The star Struck information is a great idea.
    Only problem the times etc list does not include England.
    Perhaps you would be kind enough to include it for me.
    Look forward to your next updates and thank you.

  24. Isobel Anderson
    Salmon Arm BC Canada
    May 7, 2013, 6:57 pm

    About 2 months ago I saw a ring around the sun. I have seen sundogs before but this was a complete circle. Fascinating and beautiful. Love your new feature and that it is shared with the whole world.

  25. Amanda
    San Francisco, CA, US
    May 7, 2013, 6:31 pm

    You guys should create an email list for your space event updates.

  26. Kent Dylan
    South Africa
    May 7, 2013, 5:13 pm

    It would be really great if events like this could include a timezone chart for various parts of the world, I was quite disappointed to miss the recent lunar eclipse, due to the fact that the available times were very difficult to determine — as the alternative sources available were so unreliable — I feel that National Geographic could do a much better job than the other sites that offer this type of information.

  27. Patrice
    Detroit, MI
    May 7, 2013, 10:30 am

    I love the new “Star Struck” feature! I’m always wondering what it is I’m looking at in the night sky! Great idea! Keep up the good work!

  28. Donna
    Ithaca, NY
    May 7, 2013, 8:57 am

    This is a wonderful idea! Please keep this up!

  29. Andrew Fazekas
    May 7, 2013, 8:45 am

    Correction:There was an error on the date of the solar eclipse visibility in the original post which has been corrected. We have also added a link to a list of cities with eclipse times.

  30. Bob Jones
    Waiotehue, New Zealand
    May 6, 2013, 3:08 pm

    How can the annular eclipse be visible in Queensland and Papua New Guinea on different days, given that the two places are so close to each other?

    • Andrew Fazekas
      May 7, 2013, 8:46 am

      Indeed there was an error in the dates – thanks for catching that Bob. We have corrected it now.